Oahu Island – one of the most beautiful places in Hawaii. It is a place where nature’s charm meets the hustle and bustle of a modern city. With its stunning beaches, hotels, resorts, historical sites, and fun activities to enjoy, you’ll surely have a great time during your Hawaii vacation on this island.
The Island of Oahu
Also known as “The Gathering Place,” the island of Oahu is home to about 1 million people, approximately 75% of the total population in the US state of Hawaii. Honolulu, the state capital, is located on the island’s southeast coast.
Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and divided by majestic mountain ranges, the island’s total land area is 596.7 square miles (1,545.4 square km). Visitors can enjoy lots of water activities in Oahu, which has a shoreline 227 miles (365 km) long.
Oahu is the tourism and shopping haven of Hawaii. Each year, over 5 million tourists visit the island, a majority of which come from the US mainland and Japan. It is where you’ll find some of the world’s best beaches, plus other famous tourist spots as well.
Tourist Attractions in Oahu
With its beachfront hotels, postcard-perfect waters, and huge crowds, Waikiki Beach is one of the top tourist attractions in Hawaii. A favorite among tourists who want to experience the vibe of modern Hawaii, it is the perfect place for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and because of the large crowds, socializing as well.
The majority of the high-end hotels, luxury brand stores and clothing shops are located at Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki’s main thoroughfare. On the other hand, if you are looking for restaurants, cafes, and clubs, you can find them on Kuhio Avenue.
The historic Pearl Harbor is the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet. On December 7, 1941, Japanese warplanes and submarines made a surprise attack on the US Navy fleet, resulting in widespread damage and loss of human lives.
That single event pushed the United States to join World War II. Nowadays, Pearl Harbor is a solemn place and serves as a war memorial to honor the men and women of the US Navy on that fateful day. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Hawaii.
One of the most visited tourist attractions in Oahu, Hanauma Bay is known for its coral reefs, green sea turtles, and 400 species of fish (including the parrotfish). The bay is both a Marine Life Conservation District and a Nature Preserve.
Hanauma Bay sees an average of 3,000 visitors a day, or one million each year. The bay is closed on Tuesdays to allow the marine life to have a “day-off” from tourists.
The stunningly beautiful Lanikai Beach has aqua blue waters, fine white sand, and mostly calm waves. Because of this, it is considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The pristine waters are ideal for tourists who want to swim, surf, or simply enjoy the views.
Lanikai Beach is mostly untouched, so there are no lifeguards, public parking, and restrooms. People park their vehicles in the residential area surrounding the beach (be careful, you might get a parking ticket). But if you’re able to overcome these challenges, it’s definitely worth it.
The North Shore refers to the north-facing coast of Oahu between Ka’en Point and Kahuku Point. This area is famous for its large waves, attracting surfers from all over the world. Ehukai Beach, also known as the Banzai Pipeline, is the most popular surfing spot on the North Shore because of its proximity to the beach.
Considered as the surfing mecca of the world, the North Shore hosts three surfing competitions each year, known as the Triple Crown of Surfing. For those who want to learn how to surf, there are a number of surfing schools that can teach beginners the basics. The North Shore has one large commercial hotel, Turtle Bay Resort, which boasts of two world-class golf courses.
Fun Things to Do In Oahu
- Catamaran Cruise
Explore the natural beauty of the western coast of Oahu Island with a catamaran cruise, which includes a wildlife experience and snorkeling. Enjoy best-ever views of the Pacific Ocean. Sail along the coast of Ko Olina to search for dolphins and whales (when in season).
When the captain reaches the ideal spot, you can snorkel off the clear tropical waters and see coral reefs, fish, and green sea turtles. After your underwater adventure, you will be served with delicious Hawaiian cuisine (teriyaki chicken, kalua pig, salad, rice, and fresh fruits).
- Paradise Cove Luau
Experience a wonderful evening of fun and entertainment with a Hawaiian luau at Paradise Cove. With the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, have a stunning view of the sun as it sets on the horizon. Enjoy a sumptuous feast of Hawaiian dishes and continental cuisine.
The luau at Paradise Cove starts with a Mai Tai greeting as live Hawaiian music sets the mood for the evening. Witness the Shower of Flowers and the Royal Court Procession. The highlights of the luau are the performers, who will wow the audience with an amazing display of Hawaiian hula, songs, and dances.
- Circle Island Tour
Enjoy a guided Circle Island tour of Oahu. See the island’s famous landmarks and tourist attractions. There are plenty of sites to see on Oahu: pristine beaches, historical sites, and majestic landscapes.
Check out the beautiful beaches of the North Shore and Waimea Bay, a favorite spot for surfing. Stop by at the Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Dole Plantation, and Byodo-In Temple. Have an amazing tour of Oahu Island and its natural wonders.
- Helicopter Tours
Get a bird’s eye view and fly aboard a helicopter to see the entire island of Oahu. Have incredible and stunning views of Honolulu, Magic Island, Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, and Hanauma Bay.
For a more thrilling experience, you have to option to fly with the doors off. Now, you can really feel the air and the elevation! A helicopter tour in Oahu is a once in a lifetime adventure. You should try it at least once; it is an experience you will never forget.
- Atlantis Submarine Adventure
Dive beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean onboard an Atlantis submarine. The submarine dive site is home to many species of coral reefs, fish, and turtles. You will also see shipwrecks and airplanes as you descend 100 feet into the ocean floor. This tour is simply awesome.
The actual time underwater is about 50 minutes. The submarine has large view ports, comfortable seating, and spacious air-conditioned interior. You will also receive an Atlantis Submarine Dive Log as a souvenir. If you haven’t been in a submarine before, you should try it during your Hawaii vacation. It’s a lot of fun!
The island of Oahu is the nerve center of the Hawaiian Islands. It is the best place for nature lovers, beach-goers, big families, retirees, and newlyweds. See the most famous tourist spots in Hawaii and enjoy fun-filled activities.
Visit Waikiki Beach, Lanikai Beach, Pearl Harbor, North Shore, and Hanauma Bay. Here are some of the fun activities to do in Oahu: helicopter tours, Atlantis Submarine adventure, Circle Island tour, Paradise Cove Luau, and a catamaran cruise. Enjoy your Hawaii vacation!